AAPA and Physician Assistant Education Association Announce Recipients of Inaugural Research Fellowship

Contact: Berit Mansour, 571-319-4394, bmansour@aapa.org; Steven Lane, 703-667-4349, slane@paeaonline.org

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sep. 13, 2017) – The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) and the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) are pleased to announce the three inaugural recipients of the AAPA-PAEA Research Fellowship. The program funds each fellow for one full workday per week. The 2017-2018 fellows are the following:

– Virginia Valentin, PA-C, PhD, associate professor and associate director of the University of Utah PA Program in Salt Lake City;

– Alicia Quella, PA-C, PhD, MPAS, clinical associate professor and program director at the Augsburg University PA Program in Minneapolis; and

– Christina Hanson, PA-C, MPAS, associate professor at the Bethel University PA Program in St. Paul, Minn.

The main goal of the fellowship is to further strengthen the profession’s research capacity by developing a new cadre of PAs skilled in PA education and workforce research. The program also aims to encourage utilization of PAEA and AAPA data to generate research of interest to the PA profession and community of PA scholars, and to provide future research mentors for newer faculty to sustain the PA workforce and education research pipeline.

“Many PAs have interests and skills that go beyond their ability to practice medicine. Through this fellowship, AAPA is proud to support PAs interested in research,” said L. Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA, president and chair of AAPA’s Board of Directors, and chair and associate professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Department of PA Studies. “The work of these fellows will advance the PA profession, and the knowledge base for effective team practice.”

The new fellowship program aims to help overcome the main barrier that PA faculty report to being able to conduct research: lack of time. “Our surveys show that there are PA faculty out there who have the skills and desire to do research, but cannot because of their full-time teaching and service responsibilities,” said William Kohlhepp, DHSc, PA-C, president of PAEA. “This significant funding from PAEA and AAPA will provide a major boost to the profession’s research capacity that will pay dividends for years.”

Each fellow’s institution will receive a grant of up to $25,000 to permit a 20 percent release from teaching and other activities. This will allow fellows to focus on one of a number of research topics developed by the fellowship’s organizers. Topics include how state scope of practice laws impact the number of PAs within a state, challenges and solutions to clinical site availability, understanding how underrepresented minorities learn about the PA profession and influences on their applications to PA school, and looking at career flexibility among PAs in the first 10 years of their career.

The fellowship will also include two in-person experiences at the PAEA national office in Washington, DC, and at the AAPA offices in Alexandria, where fellows will be able to interact with PAEA and AAPA research teams and key staff at organizations like the Association of American Medical Colleges, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the National Academy of Medicine. The fellowship will run from Nov. 1, 2017, through Oct. 31, 2018.

PAs are state-licensed medical providers who conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions, and perform medical procedures in nearly every practice setting and medical specialty. With more than 115,500 PAs today, the PA profession is projected to increase 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, significantly faster than average for all occupations. More than 8,000 PAs a year graduate from the 224 currently accredited PA programs in the country.

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About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national organization that advocates for all PAs and provides tools to improve PA practice and patient care. Founded in 1968, AAPA represents a profession of more than 115,500 PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and the uniformed services. Visit www.aapa.org to learn more.

About the Physician Assistant Education Association
PAEA is the only national organization representing PA educational programs. PAEA works to ensure quality PA education through the development and distribution of educational services and products specifically geared toward meeting the emerging needs of PA programs, the PA profession, and the health care industry. Visit www.PAEAonline.org to learn more.